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Employment & Benefits

This section provides an overview of many benefits available to faculty and staff. In the event of conflict between the overview provided in this handbook and the plan document or insurance plan, the plan document or insurance plan will govern. Complete descriptions are not possible in the handbook; employees should contact Human Resources for specific plan details. The Labor Agreement governs in the case of Union employees in all aspects of this section. Regular non-union employees who have a schedule involving a (.46) FTE or above, and Union employees who have a (.50) FTE or above are eligible to participate in the College’s benefit programs.

Carleton College will comply with all applicable laws such as ACA, FMLA, federal, state, and any applicable regulations.



All regular, benefit-eligible employees will accrue paid vacation time. The supervisor will review and either approve or deny each vacation request to ensure operational needs are met. There is no waiting period for non-union staff to use allotted vacation days, however, prior supervisor approval is required. The amount of vacation is pro-rated for all staff members working less than full-time or less than 12 months in the year.


  Accrual Rate Total vacation for full-time employee Maximum accrual balance Maximum negative balance allowed for full-time employee
Biweekly (Non-exempt and Union)
At start of employment or benefit eligibility .0577 per hour paid 15 days 20 days 40 hours
Upon completion of the 5th year .0769 per hour paid 20 days 30 days 40 hours
Upon completion of the 10th year .0885 per hour paid 23 days 40 days 40 hours
At start of employment or benefit eligibility 1.67 days per month 20 days 40 days 2 weeks
Upon completion of the 10th year 1.92 days per month 23 days 40 days 2 weeks

Benefits begin accruing on the first day of employment (or upon benefit eligibility). Vacation time is accrued at the end of each pay period based on the employee’s current accrual rate, the number of hours worked (excluding over-time) and/or the employee’s budgeted FTE. Employees do not accrue vacation hours during an unpaid leave or a Paid Parental Leave.

Staff working less than 12 months must use their vacation during their paid employment period. Staff positions are budgeted for the appointment period only and therefore there are no funds available for paid vacations outside of the appointment period.

When an employee reaches the Maximum Balance, their vacation accruals will cease until their balance drops below the maximum. Carry-over maximums are equal to maximum balances.

Bi-weekly and union employees are to record their vacation time utilization using actual time verses rounding to 15 minute increments on their web-time entry electronic timesheet.

This is meant to be an informative guide for union employees. The CBA should be referenced for all policy questions.

Exempt employees must electronically record vacation utilization on the HUB on a monthly basis. Exempt employees will only accrue vacation time after they have entered their montly utilization (including "no time used"). Adjustments to leave balances will not be made due to late reporting. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires exempt leave reporting in no less than half-day increments. For partial days worked, if an employee misses less than 2 hours of work in a day they do not need to report the time off, if they miss between 2-6 hours in a day they should report a half-day of vacation. If they miss more than 6 hours they should report a full day of vacation (if part-time exempt, prorate based on FTE). 

The purpose for allowing employees to use vacation before it is earned (negative balance) is in response to the cyclical work of many offices around campus that may dictate when an employee can use vacation, sometimes before they have earned it. It is not the College’s intent for employees to carry a negative balance for an extended period of time, and like other aspects of the vacation policy, supervisor approval is required before an employee can use unearned vacation time.

Unpaid Leave

Employees may, with supervisor approval, take the option of unpaid leave in lieu of vacation or sick pay for hours not worked in cases where the employee does not have a substantial amount of leave accrued. This option is intended for absences not covered under FMLA, and should be of limited duration.

If the employee’s paycheck is diminished by unpaid leave such that the total is not sufficient for standard benefit deductions, it is the responsibility of the employee to make payment arrangements.

Separation of Employment and Accruals

Upon voluntary separation, accrued vacation balances will be paid out to the employee. 

Any negative vacation balance will be deducted from the employee's final pay check.

  1. Temporary Extension of Maximum Balance

    Carleton’s vacation policy provides staff with an opportunity to step away from work for rest and renewal. Taking vacation can be particularly important when workloads are high. However, we recognize that extenuating business circumstances may prevent an employee from taking accrued vacation time, and such circumstances periodically result in an employee reaching the vacation maximum accrual balance. When an employee reaches the maximum accrual balance, their vacation accruals will cease until their balance drops below the maximum. As a result, employees lose vacation accruals.

    In response, Carleton will temporarily extend an employee’s maximum balance by up to ten days. Such circumstances are rare and will be reviewed and approved by Tuesday Group. Extension, if granted, will include a specific extension period. During that extension period, the employee’s maximum accrual balance will increase by the approved number of days (up to ten). At the end of the extension period, the employee’s accrual balance will return to the regular maximums and accruals above the maximum will be lost. It is important to note that the maximum payout balance will not change.

    Supervisors are encouraged to work with employees to find vacation opportunities to avoid balances up to the maximum.

Last revised June 15, 2022
For Staff
Keywords: vacation, accrue

Last Reviewed: Aug 13th, 2021

Maintained by Human Resources